For the longest time, basketball was looked like a gimmicky game with not much interest from the fans. American sporting culture was dominated by NFL and MLB, with the majority of the American preferring either football or baseball as their go-to sports. NBA was just not in any person's list, just consider the fact the biggest game in the NBA, the finals, well, during the early periods of NBA, the finals was on tape-delay. It means the final would be played in the designated arena, and then the game would be shown later on when the networks felt like it.
The popularity of basketball was in the gutter even with great players, but slowly after the merger with a competing league and more stars and style flooding in the NBA the sporting started to climb the pole of the best sports to watch in America and slowly is making ground on other major sporting franchises in America. The whole league is considered to be a growing stock, and with reaches beyond America, soon it will be one of the biggest sports alongside soccer.
Watch: LeBron James signs a four year $154 million contract with Lakers
But the biggest credit of the success of the NBA goes to the players of the league. Just take this test for once, we all know one of those friends who never watches sports, go up to them and ask them who LeBron James is and more likely than not the person you are talking to will know the name LeBron whether they do or don’t know the sports LeBron plays. It is all about the players when it comes to NBA, and it was a smart move by the league to allow players take the reins of the league and allow them to promote the brand of NBA instead of doing it themselves.
The one benefit players received after was the fact they were provided with more opportunities to make money from the sports as well as outside of it. When the NFL maintains a tight grip on the image of the players, the NBA allows the players to do whatever they want with their image as long as it is legal. Take the logo of the two sporting organization, the logo of the NBA is Jerry West, one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA, and the logo of the NFL is a shield. This shows the priorities of the two leagues, and it is also the reason why NBA players are richer than the players from the Gridiron.
Source: USA Today
Not only millionaires, but there are also billionaires and multi-millionaires who played the game of basketball, and above then all is his Air-ness himself, Michael Jordan. One of the most recognizable names in the world and also the richest person to ever play professionally in the NBA but he is not alone when it comes to the rich basketball players and out of all the players, here are the top five NBA players with the biggest bank accounts.
5. Shaquille O’Neal
Without a doubt, the most dominant center to ever lace on the sneakers and take to the ply of a court. Shaq is considered on the greatest ever to play the game of basketball, just take a moment and let these measurements wash over you; height 7 feet 1 inch tall, weight fluctuates between 340-370 lbs, shoe size is 22 and a wingspan of 90 inches. No human should be that large and still be able to move around, let alone play any sports. To this day there’s never been such a dominating figure in the sports of basketball, there was no way anyone was going to stop the freight train known as Shaq from getting to the rim.
Shaq’s Basketball Earnings
For the same reasons Shaq was chosen first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 92 Draft, and he signed his first professional contract with a team. By the time he left Orlando in 96, he already made over $17 million from the organization, and then he went to a meeting with the legendary Dr. Buss, and he was offered a $121 million contract over seven years to lead the Los Angeles Lakers. And lead he did, the Lakers were a dominant force in the early 2000s and combined with the draft pick Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Kobe three-peat, from 2000 to 2002 there was no stopping the combination of Shaq and Kobe, but slowly the relationship between the two started to deteriorate, and by 2004 after the loss to Pistons in the finals Shaq left the Lakers.
Watch: Shaq and Kobe celebrate their three championships together
In mid-2004 Shaq signed a contract with Miami Heat worth a $100 million for five years. His career with Miami was fruitful one after he collected a ring to make it four championships for his career. But Miami wasn’t for the long haul and Shaq signed another major contract with Phoenix which paid $20 million and $21 million over the two years he was there. Then for his final payday and in the hopes of getting LeBron some help, Cleveland signed Shaq to an erroneous contract of $20 million, and by 2009 he was a shell of himself. Shaq did play for one more team before he hung up his size 22 sneakers and it was for the arch-rivals of Lakers, the Boston Celtics. He was signed to a veteran’s minimum contract and considering the player made almost $300 million playing basketball, in the latter stages of his career Shaq was just trying to ride his way to another championship, which never materialized.
Other Business Dealings
Though Shaq is huge, does and says stupid things don’t mean he is dumb. Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most business-savvy basketball players on the planet. While talking with Wall Street Journal, Shaq said, “I heard Jeff Bezos say one time [that] he makes his investments based on if it's going to change people's lives, once I started doing that strategy; I think I probably quadrupled what I'm worth.”
For Shaq, it is simple, invest in this you believe in, which is why he invested in Google back in 1999 and also own stocks in Apple. The retired basketball player invested in Vegas Nightclubs, fast food franchises which includes Papa John’s where he is a board member and own stocks in the huge pizza franchise. But out of all the investment he’s made, if you ask Shaq, he will tell you, the one he loves the most is his investment in Krispy Kreme doughnut chain which he enjoys he most out of all the other companies and fast-food brands he’s invested in.
Source: The Drum
Shaq’s business dealings and all his earnings from his playing days combine to form a net worth of $400 million.
Shaq’s Car Collection; The Lamborghini Is The Best
Playing basketball was a passion of Shaq’s, but then another passion took over the interest of one of the most feared players in the world, Automobiles. Shaq owns a plethora of cars and vans which are unique just by going by the fact Shaq is huge and most of the cars in his garage needed to be modified to all him to fit in.
Shaq tells a story of going to buy one of his first luxury cars, according to Shaq there was a Bentley Showroom near the Lakers training center and when he went in to ask the price of the car he was wearing shorts and slippers and when the salesman asked if he could afford the car Shaq felt insulted and bought three Bentley’s on the spot which is considered a regretful buy now.
Source: Hot Cars
Source: Hot Cars
Source: Hot Cars
Source: Hot Cars
Inside Shaq’s garage, there are modified Vaydor, Stretched Lamborghini Gallardo, Rolls Royce Phantom which costs about $450,000, Convertible Dodge Challenger, a customized tour bus, customized Polaris slingshot 4-seater.
The man knows his taste though the Terminator themed car was a little much, still one of the better car collection by athletes.
Checkout Shaq’s $28 million mansion
Spread out over three-acre of the estate, the 31,000 square foot living area is massive, and the Orlando House was listed by Shaq for $28 million. The mansion sits beside a lake, and it is on an exclusive part of Griffin Court which only millionaires like Shaq can afford.
Shaq also owns a home in Florida where he used to live in the 35,000 square foot mansion which was also recently listed for $22 million by the former athlete. The house consists of an indoor pool along with 12 bedrooms and 700 foot of lake in front of the house. Private movie theatre, pool, and all the other amenities make it ideal for living for the player, but it seems he is more than happy to sell the place and move on.
Source: The Agency Collective
Shaq was married to Shaunie O’Neal for five years, and he’s the father of five children, four of which are with his ex-wife Shaunie. Shaq’s son Shareef is seen as one of the best players in the country and was recruited by multiple colleges, and he decided to join UCLA.
Divorce Settlement With His Wife
Shaunie and Diesel got divorced after seven years, she accused the player of cheating on her, and when things got bad, she filed for divorce and got custody of the kids with Shaq allowed visitation. They worked out their differences in the years to come but still after the divorce Shaq was forced to pay over $20,000 in monthly alimony and she also got the couple’s house in LA.
4. LeBron James
To us, the greatest player who ever played or is still playing basketball, LeBron James is without a doubt the best to ever do it. When LeBron James arrived at the 2003 Draft, one of the best top-five Draft classes to date, there was the unreal amount of hype and expectation on LeBron who didn’t attend college and went straight to the NBA at the age of 18.
When he arrived for the draft, LeBron was already touted as the next Michael Jordan and was supposed to take over the basketball world. Most of the people thought the Sports Illustrated cover athlete was never going to rise to the expectations. Sixteen years later while almost all of the players from his draft class are retired, LeBron is gearing up for the 17th year in the league and going by the way he is looking at it, probably the best season to date is about to come. By this point, he’s not only managed to surpass the hype surrounding his name, but in most peoples’ book, he already became the greatest player in the world.
Source: Heat Nation
The three-time NBA champion, three times finals MVP and four times League MVP, LeBron without a doubt etched his name in the history books, and while he was doing all of it, the man also made a lot of money.
LeBron James’ Career Earnings From Basketball
LeBron started his career in his hometown team Cleveland Cavaliers after he was picked first overall in the 2003 draft. The actor, rapper and TV host made over $100 million during his first several years in the league. The player was paid handsomely by Cleveland for taking them to their first finals appearance in the history. The amazing thing LeBron did after his rookie deal with Cleveland expired was he opted to sign a three-year extension with the team for $60 million instead of going all-in with the maximum amount he would’ve been able to receive. When most players are looking for the max, LeBron opted to maximize his earning potential down the line, and it worked when the player left Cleveland in 2010 to partner up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch in Miami.
Over the next decade, LeBron opted to play on short term contracts, it was a risky move, but still, it was the best thing for him because the salary cap was only increasing and there was more money to be made on one-year deals. LeBron moved back to Cleveland after winning two rings with Miami, and for the first time in his career, he became the highest-paid player in the league. James came home and delivered on the promise to bring a title to Cleveland when his team came back from 3-1 down in the finals to win the game 3-4. For the first time in history, a team came back from such deficit to win the finals, and it was the first and only title he won with Cleveland.
Watch: LeBron talks about joining the Lakers
In 2018 after becoming a free agent, LeBron made the decision to leave Cleveland again and this time signed a four year NBA contract with Los Angeles Lakers which is worth $154 million. This will probably be the final contract for LeBron James considering his age we do not see him playing past this contract, maybe he is up to it then maybe a two year’s extension but father time is catching up to LeBron as it did with most other players in the league.
Throughout his career LeBron made over $300 million from his contract and considering his net worth of $440 million, the man is involved in other business ventures which helped him amass such a massive sum of money.
James’ Other Business Venture, He Made $30 Million From Beats
Like most other basketball players, LeBron was subject to multiple corporations trying to get him to endorse their products among them, Nike is definitely his biggest endorsement deal. When the player declared for the draft in 2003 there were multiple companies vying to sign a shoe deal with LeBron and Nike won out, they offered LeBron $90 million to promote and create his own shoe line, and the contract lasted for seven years. After the contract was up, LeBron signed a lifetime deal with the company for over $1 billion, and the business is booming on both sides, LeBron is promoting new shoes every day, and just his star power is making the shoes sell like hotcakes.
Another company LeBron profited from was Beats by Dre, when the company was starting out LeBron was asked to promote the company, and for his trouble, the player was given a 1% stake in the company. When Apple came calling for Beats and bought the company for over $3 billion, LeBron walked away from the deal with $30 million in total earnings from his stake.
Watch: LeBron prmotes Beats by Dre after joining the Lakers
LeBron always said he wants to own a team when he is done playing but right now he already owns a small portion of a team. LeBron is currently the proud part-owner of the Liverpool F.C. due to a deal with Fenway Sports Group, and he is taking to the role of fan and owner pretty well.
LeBron slowly started his own media company when Uninterrupted was given $15.8 million by Warner Bros. Entertainment to film and release their own content, and the company recently partnered with Drake to bring the media franchise to the international stage. He also owns a production company called SpringHill Entertainment which also produces a talk show called 'The Shop', and LeBron hosts the show with his childhood-friend and agent, Rich Paul. The company is also producing the $100 million budgeted 'Space Jam' sequel which is scheduled to release on 16 July 2021, their most significant undertaking to date.
Also, Nike recently announced they are naming the building of their new headquarters in Oregon after LeBron James, which is something LeBron is proud of and also happy about.
LeBron’s Cars; $670,000 On A Lamborghini!
The man is always on the court, and when he is not, he loves to spend his money on expensive luxury vehicles. Over the years, LeBron owned many cars and collected a huge number of expensive vehicles to sit in his garage. Some of the cars in his garage are, Chevy Impala, Bentley Continental GT, Dodge Challenger SRT, Chevy Camaro SS, Ferrari 599, Ferrari F430Spider, 2015 Kia K900, Ferrari 458 Spider, Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57S, Porsche 911 Turbo S, 2018 Maybach S650 and the gift he received from Shaq for his birthday in 2009, a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Source: Bentley Motors
Source: Flat Chrysler
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider
Fun fact, Shaq also owns one Phantom as we’ve mentioned above and along with LeBron, Shaq also gifted the president of the United States with the car.
The House LeBron Built
The man is rich, there is no doubt about it, and he lives his life the way multi-millionaire often do, by spending an obscene amount of money on the house. LeBron owns a house in Akron, Ohio, his hometown; he paid $2.1 million for the place which consists of a pool, a gym and a walk-in wardrobe which is two stories tall. He bought the house over 16 years ago and now the place is worth almost $10 million.
While LeBron was playing in Miami, he owned a house there which was sold after Bron moved back to Cleveland. The place in Miami sold for $13 million, and he invested the money along with some extra amount in the Brentwood neighborhood where he became the proud owner of a 9,440 square foot house which cost the star athlete over $20 million. He bought the house in 2015 and after he left Cleveland and joined the Lakers, LeBron made another purchase in the Brentwood area with this one costing the player $23 million and the place is spread out over 15,000 square foot of land with a cellar, a gym, oversized pool, sauna, party hosting area in the garden and plenty of room for his wife Savannah Brinson and their three kids LeBron Jr., Bryce and daughter Zhuri.
3. Junior Bridgeman
Most NBA fans of the current generation probably do not even know who Junior Bridgeman is and no one can blame them. His career was spent in Milwaukee, and he was also recently inducted into the hall of fame. No earth shattering numbers or any kind of wild persona allowed Junior to go under the radar. Throughout his career never once did he earn in the seven-figure area and still, Junior Bridgeman is the third richest player in the world with a net worth close to $600 million.
His Less Than Significant NBA Contract
Most of Junior’s career was spent in the cold city of Milwaukee, while he was playing there were no crazy contracts, and the NBA was still trying to make headway into the sports scene of the US. Junior signed his first NBA contract with the Lakers for a total sum of $350,000, but he was immediately traded to the Bucks. Never exceeding the threshold, the career of Junior was on the way to an end when the player started working in Wendy’s to see how the company worked.
By the time Junior was out of the league, he made over $1 million from his basketball career. Enough to live on in the 80s for his wife Doris Griffith and three sons Justin, Ryan and Eden, but it was not enough to survive. This is where the post career of Junior comes into play.
Earnings From Franchises, How Junior Turned $300,000 Into A Sprawling $400 Million Franchise!
Junior started working in Wendy’s during the summer break while he was still in the NBA, the time on his career was winding down, and he started flipping burgers at the giant food chain to see the inner workings of the company. Soon, the man invested his money and opened his first Wendy’s chain which was a massive success and now he owns over 450 different locations of Wendy’s and Chili’s as well as Blaze pizza where LeBron is also an investor.
All of his money can be attributed to the long list of franchises owned by the former athlete. He is the President of Bridgeman Foods LLC. He also owns the Black Bear Beverages and invested in Coca-Cola, which is why he recently sold off 30 of his chain. It’s been almost 35 years since the player played his last game of basketball and still, he was able to bring in about $32 million in the year of 2015 according to Forbes. The player also recently put up a letter for buying the Coca-Cola bottling operations in Canada.
Junior was also looking to get into the print business with him putting up over $150 million to buy Sports Illustrated the player is obviously business savvy, and he knows what is needed to put himself up for the future. An average career in the NBA but by the end of 2019 one of the people, young athletes look up to for a career outside of basketball.
2. Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a Hall of Fame Basketball player who played his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and became a five-time champion with the team with his being the finals MVP three times. The Lakers drafted him, and it was in Los Angeles he ended his career after contracting HIV and coming out with the disease in 1991. Magic is also famous for his rivalry with Larry Bird, which most critics now say, saved the multi-billion dollar organization of the NBA.
He retired but came back in 1996 but his best days were past him. The player made a lot of money while playing basketball, but he is also better known for being one of the most successful black business owners in America.
Magic Signed His First NBA Contract With Lakers Worth $25 Million
When Magic came out in the draft and Lakers decided to take the player and add him to the Lakers’ roster the team gave him a contract worth $25 million with the contract duration of 25 years as an extension of his rookie deal. Considering how the team won the championships and how valuable Magic was the deal may seem weird, but still, it was one of the best decision Lakers ever made. Before he started his rookie year Magic also signed a contract with converse worth $2 million which was a huge number back in the day.
NBA contracts were not as lavish and guaranteed like they are these days this means the player made all of his fortunes after his career in the arena was over. From battling to HIV and battling the stigma of the disease to becoming one of the biggest business owners in America, the man is an absolute legend
Magic Owned Over 100 Starbucks Outlets
Magic’s first foray into the business side of the world led him to TV where he made his debut as a talk show host on Fox Network. The player’s talk show was not a big rating success and was canned after only two months. He also started his record label in the early 2000 and also dabbled with motivational speaking. Later on in his career, he was a sports commentator, but now no one can afford the man to comment on the games.
Slowly Magic started accumulating assets and became a theatre chain owner where he partnered with AMC. He also created Card Company with MasterCard to help out poor communities. But the biggest investment of Magic’s Career was with Starbuck when he met with the CEO of the coffee company, Howard Schultz, and provided an action plan to open urban coffee shops. The idea was something Howard liked, and soon Magic walked out with 125 Starbucks dealership. Magic also invested money in the Lakers, his investment of 4.5% works out to about $10 million, and by 2010 the investment was worth over $50 million.
Every other organization he manages is controlled by Magic Johnson Enterprises, which is currently valued at $1 billion and his personal net worth stands at $600 million. He sold half of his stakes in Starbucks after the coffee conglomerate blew up and in 2010 Magic sold both his stake in the Lakers and also his Starbucks share which brought in more than $100 million for the former basketball player.
Out of all the other investments in his career, the largest sum of money he invested was while buying the LA Dodgers which sold for $2 billion to the Guggenheim Partners and Stan Kasten. He also owns a little stake in the Los Angeles Football Club which all combined to bring in about $25 million for the player in 2015 just from the sports organizations.
Magic’s Sick $500,000 Drophead Coupe
Talk about a sweet ride; Magic Johnson is the owner of a sick Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. It is a customized car which cost Earvin over $500,000 and to make things even more awesome, only 237 total cars of this model were sold in the whole world. Almost eight billion people and only 237 cars, one of which is owned by Magic but the Rolls isn’t the only pride and joy of Magic’s garage he also owns a Ferrari a BMW and a private jet to go with it all.
The House Magic Shares With His Family
Magic went to Dana point and fell in love with the place, and this was the place where Magic decided was the location where he wanted to locate his family. So, in 2007 the former basketball player bought a 7,764 square foot mansion near Monarch Beach, and the place did not come cheap for the player. He forked out $7.6 million for the five bedrooms, seven-bathroom house for his wife Earlitha “Cookie” Kelly and his three kids, Andre Johnson, Earvin III and daughter Elisa.
Source: Architectural Digest
The couple also owned a house in Hawaii, but they sold the place because according to Ervin, the place was just too far to get to so they settled on a 17 room Tuscan-style house in Southern California to get away from the hubbub of the city. The place cost Earvin somewhere in the range of $15 million and considering the place is still owned by the former NBA champion, it seems well worth it.
1. Michael Jordan
The one player who dominated the NBA while he was playing and also after he was done, one of the greatest to ever play the game and many people would say, the best player to ever pick up the ball. Michael Jordan made his debut in 1984 when he was picked third overall by the Chicago Bulls, and the man became a six-time NBA champion with the Bulls, and he still holds the record of multiple three-peats and not losing a single final.
Michael Jordan revolutionized basketball and the game we know and love today was the cause of the player and his exploits over the years. Though the start of his career was hard with multiple playoff exits, he was able to make the entire NBA pay when he got help with Rodman and Pippen.
Watch: Michael Jordan wins takes the final shot to win the game and make it six titles out of six finals for the legend
From being the third pick in the draft to now being the first billionaire athlete in the world the life and career of Michael Jordan is something epic which he built from the ground up. So, this is how 'His Airness' made over $1 billion in his career.
Earnings From The NBA
The NBA contracts from back in the day were different from what they are now; they were not well stacked like they are today if it were any organization would’ve paid half the salary cap just to get Michael to play for their team. Michael’s NBA contracts were not something extraordinary with the player making only $90 million from his career with the Bulls out of which $63 million came in the final two seasons in the NBA. The amazing thing though is the fact Michael increased his net worth by more than 20 fold after his career as a player was over.
The biggest culprit for his success was the shoe deal he signed with Nike is 1984, which only cost the company $500,000 per year and the Air Jordan brand which Michael says was the idea of David Falk, his agent took off after an ad featuring Spike Lee goes in search of what makes Michael, MICHAEL! So, he decides, “It’s gotta be the shoes.” Then the whole thing took off. Air Jordan’s reached new heights, and it led Nike to open another brand in the company, Jordan Brand, which made not only shoes but other apparels.
Earning Over $100 Million Every Year From Shoes
The amazing thing about Jordan signing with Nike is, he wanted to sign with Adidas, but the company was not interested because they only wanted to be associated with NBA players who were 7 feet or above. Probably one of the biggest mistakes of their history, letting the revenue-generating machine Michael Jordan slip through their hands. Considering the shoes from Jordan are now in museums, it was a huge loss for Adidas.
Michael was involved with many other companies in his prime such as Chevrolet, Wheaties, Coca-Cola, Gatorade but as time passed by and old age took hold, Michael let go of most of the endorsement deals keeping only Gatorade, a couple of Nissan dealerships, Nike and a few others in the later part of his life. In 2019, Michael is estimated to earn $145 million, and it is almost all from the success of the Jordan Brand. It is estimated Nike will make over $3 billion from the brand, and the royalty fees for the star athlete will be in the range of $130 million which is still more than any other athlete in the world. Just shoe sales are enough for Michael to trump any other player and their earnings.
Becoming A Billionaire
In the 2010s Michael started investing in basketball, and the team he put his money into was the Charlotte Hornets. In 2104 the former player increased his interest in the team to almost 90% and his $175 million investment into the team made him into a billionaire.
After the players signed the CBA and the owners agreed to share the TV revenue equally among all teams combined with the fact NBA sold its TV rights for $24 billion, the whole thing increased the valuation of all the teams. Charlotte is now worth over $1.3 billion, and Michael is the majority owner, which made him the first NBA billionaire. Earning $100 million every year from endorsement plus his team being valued at more than a billion dollar, all coupled together allowed Michael to amass a net worth of $1.9 billion.
How Michael Spends His Billions!
Like most other athletes, Michael is a sucker when it comes to luxury vehicles which is why he owns a garage full of cars most noticeably Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG, Aston Martin DB7 Volante, Aston Martin DB 9 Volant, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722Edition and the throwback Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 40th Anniversary Edition. Those are some really expensive and sick rides; retirement is treating well for the former six times MVP.
Michael also owns a private jet where the plane’s tail shows the Jumpman logo, and the ID number for the plane consists of 23, the jersey number of Michael and 6, the total NBA titles to his name.
Michael’s $12.8 million Dream House
Spread out on a three-acre land the Palm Beaches mansion of Michael is utterly massive, and according to the designer of the house, MJ spent $4.8 million for the land and another $7.6 million on the construction of the house. The 11 bedroom mansion is the home Michael shared with his then fiancé and now wife, Yvette Prieto. Michael also built a golf course near his house because he was frustrated by other players in his golf club.
He is currently a father of five with three children from his first marriage to Juanita Vanoy and identical twins from his now-wife Yvette. Jordan also owned a house in Highland Park which was built on 56,000 square foot of land, the player shared the house with his first wife, but after the divorce, he put the house up for sale in 2012.
Source: Auction House
Since the player owns a team in Charlotte, he needs a home to stay when the NBA season is in full swing. The former player owns a house in Charlotte which cost him $2.8 million. Michael is also looking to sell his Chicago mansion for an estimate price of $29 million for since the house is not selling the asking price was lowered to $14 million still there are no takers for the home which looks lavish with an open pool outside and a full team working the house, maintaining it till the sale comes through.
The Biggest Celebrity Divorce Settlement
Michael is a billionaire, but he was only a millionaire when his wife and the mother of his three children filed for divorce from Michael. Jordan Brand ambassador was engaged in an extramarital affair, and Juanita filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. The marriage was dissolved on 29 December 2006, and the word from the court was the separation was mutual and amicable. In the divorce settlement, Michael was made to pay $168 million, which comes to about $210 million in 2019 dollars.
NBA is an upward trending league, but still, there is only one billionaire from the sport, but this won’t be for long because LeBron is nipping at the heels of the billion-dollar mark. The Nike contract alone is worth one billion, and LeBron always said he intends to buy a sports team when he is done playing. Money in the NBA is free-flowing, and the league is on an uptick which means pretty soon new players will be making a trip inside the top five richest players from the NBA. The new TV deal is pushing the salary cap up which means players’ contract will also rise accordingly, so the modern players are in a better position to dethrone the players in the top five right now, Michael though, will always be elusive.